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USA: Washington, D. C. – A Show of Monuments

Published: 30.6.2013
I had visited Washington D. C. during my two-year stay in the US. I had spent there three days for I considered it a duty to visit the city not only for it is the US capital but also for its vicinity. It is about 250 miles/400 kilometers from New York.

Regular and affordable (yet high-quality) bus connection between both cities is provided by Chinese who have their Chinese town in every large American city.

Washington, D. C. is the city where lives the president and have their residence Congress and the Supreme Court. The name to the city was given on behalf of the first president of the USA – George Washington. Since 1800 Washington is the capital. The abbreviation D.C. or District of Columbia is part of the name of the city. Maybe to easier distinguish it from the state of Washington located in northwest. District labels the area where the capital had to be built according to the Constitution. Colombia is contemporary poetical name for the United States. So, District of Colombia means the area where the US capital is located.

National Mall

My accommodation was in a hostel near downtown. It was my very first night in hostel. My first impression was fear for I shared my room with four other people I didn’t know. Moreover, every night there were four new people. I know, it is quite common if you seek cheap accommodation. Mostly students accommodated in hostel, however, I had imagined something different. Well, nothing is that hot as it was cooked. In two nights I met various people from all-around the world who came to D.C. for knowledge mostly. It was worth of that little discomfort and lack of privacy.

Washington, D. C. has one great advantage for tourists – all important landmarks and popular buildings are located in the city center, in the park called National Mall. Moreover, landmarks are very close to each other, few minutes of walk. As in every capital even in Washington you can feel its history (although not that long). Taking subway to the city center will get you to the point from which you may explore everything interesting. This can take you whole day and you can return to the hostel in the night. Washington subway is more modern than subway in New York. Also, you pay differently for tickets. In New York there is one price for ticket. There you can travel even whole day for one ticket. In Washington D. C., you have to know how through how many stations you will travel and then you buy a relevant ticket.  

Washington Monument

On the first day, I had seen the Library of Congress from outside and also one of the capital’s symbols the Washington Monument – a 169 meters high monument that has a glassed observation deck on top. I have found out I won’t get on the observation deck today for every tickets for the day were bought. Washington D. C. is special for its only uniqueness – tickets to its landmarks are free but their numbers are limited on every day. So you have to just get up early and join your queue. A distributor determines the our time so the rule “who comes first gets the worm” holds true here. Thus, I know that tomorrow morning I have to get up early and join my queue.

Bílý dům

I continue to the White House , the residence of the POTUS. Tourists are, indeed, allowed only to the high fence that surrounds the whole building. Even from such a distance it is a beautiful view of the building and you can see also its numerous guards. In the time of my stay, the president in office was George W. Bush.

Every US president has his smaller or larger memorial with his statue inside. Probably the most known is the Lincoln Memorial built on behalf as honor to Abraham Lincoln. The building is a copy of Greek Parthenon. I have visited one more memorial the Jefferson Memorial made as a memory of Thomas Jefferson. This president was the main author of the Declaration of Independence written on July 4th 1776. His memorial in Washington is the 4th most popular landmark in the US.

2. svetova valka

In the afternoon I have visited the memorial of the War in Korea and Vietnam –the Korean War Veterans Memorial and also the Second World War Memorial . The latter is dominated by a round fountain, which is surrounded by columns on which are marking of all states that fought. Also we can see there battles and places of battles as well as 4048 gold stars, every star symbolizes 100 Americans that died in war.

Lincoln Memorial  

In the evening, my journey ends in front of a beautiful building, the residence of the American government – United States Capitol. Even here, if I want to look inside, I have to stand in a queue to get a ticket. I have been waiting there until sunset to see beautiful illumination I know from postcards and tourist guides. However, I haven’t seen a perfect view I expected.

On the following day, I have been waiting in a queue to get to the top of the Washington Monument. The ticket allows me to get there exactly at 11:30. I make use of the rest of my time and stand in a queue to get a ticket to the US Capitol. A ticket distributor, indeed, doesn’t want to even hear something about change of my time schedule so I just have to wait again to get better entrance time.

US Capitol     US Capitol

For I have still some time until 11:30, I have visited a botanical garden. Its beautiful and amazing. Many orchids species and even I got coffee and a gingerbread cookie. Before the noon an elevator gets me up to 160 meters of the Washington Monument. Because of weather my view isn’t perfect yet still I see everything I visited the other day. Also I see the Pentagon (the residence of the Department of Defense and one of the 9/11 terrorist attacks targets). Also I see the Ronalda Reagan Airport and St Peter and Paul Cathedral, the sixth largest sacral building in the world.

Botanicka zahrada

We had a guide on our US Capitol tour. During my entrance to the building I experienced unpleasant situation – I had to throw away all my food from my hand luggage. Of course I knew I couldn’t eat anything inside and I wouldn’t even dare. However, on my Capitol visit I had bought some food for my way back (I knew I wouldn’t manage to have a dinner in a restaurant), and I hadn’t place to hide it. Guards were unyielding and I had to just throw away… The tour begins in the dome that has beautiful ceiling. Then we continued to the National Statutary Hall, there every US state has two statues of its most prominent figures. Even there are painting showing signing the Declaration of Independence . And next we went to the US Congress

kopie Liberty Bell

After a tour in Capitol, on my way to the bus I walked pass by the Treasury Building. There I had seen a copy of the Liberty Bell – the original is located in Philadelphia, the former US capital. I have also visited this city but I will tell you more about it in some following article

Text/photo: Pavlína Rouhová



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